Senggigi, Indonesia

Sengiggi (map) is located in the north-east of Lombok, has 9000 inhabitants and is, together with Kuta (Lombok), Mataram and the Gili islands, one of the most touristic places of Lombok. One of the main touristic places of Lombok sounds like loads of bars, restaurants, hotels, cafés and activities or tours, but Lombok is not Bali. In general, Lombok still gets ignored by huge touristic masses and a touristic place like Sengiggi simply means that you will have a choice between a couple of restaurants and hotels or homestays.

In order to get to Senggigi, we chose to book a ticket that combined a boat ride and transportation to our hotel. We took a public ferry from Gili Trawangan to Bangsal (Lombok) and then a van with a driver from Bangsal to Sengiggi. It was only 100.000 IDR per person. On our way back, we booked a fast boat from Bangsal to Padang Bai and paid 300.000 IDR per person (including transfer). So our trip from Gili Trawangan to Lombok was very cheap – but we have to say that we wouldn’t book a ticket like that again. The public boat was in a very bad condition. There were basically only locals on this boat and they all seemed to be totally relaxed. But we and four other Europeans felt like drowning very soon. Even though the sea was very calm, the boat was constantly moving or rolling. And if you are following the news about Indonesia, you will recognize that every couple of weeks or months ships/ ferries are sinking. When we finally reached Lombok, after 30 minutes, we were close to kissing the ground and thanking every kind of god that we survived. After getting a clear head again, we had to deal with the local taxi drivers. They will try to sell you a return tour from your hotel to the harbour and try to convince you that there are no taxis in Sengiggi – don’t listen to them. There are many blue bird taxis in Sengiggi. After another hour we got our first view on Sengiggi. Sengiggi consists of one main road, some restaurants and hotels. It is located in a small bay and has a beach and a pier. You will only find a few tourists in Sengiggi. The surrounding and Lombok in general are great, but Sengiggi is nothing special and rather not spectacular. If it comes to restaurants, we can highly recommend the Warung Paradiso. It is always fully booked and there is a reason to that. It is located right on the beach, a bit outside of Sengiggi and they serve great dishes. The owner and his friends are always in a good mood and are often dancing around the tables. Take a taxi from Senggigi to this great Warung and enjoy a funny and tasteful evening.

We stayed at the ‘Mama Bellas Retreat’ in Sengiggi. It is a bit more expensive, but definitely worth it. There are a couple of small bungalows around a beautiful pool and surrounded by flowers and pure nature. It is an oasis in the middle of this hectic little city. And the staff will always help you with everything you could wish for. Through our accommodation we were able to book a private driver for a day and went to the north of Lombok to see the large waterfalls (750.000 IDR for 2 persons/ about 8 hours/ all fees included). It is a luxury but also individual and safe way of exploring this island. You can stop wherever you want to, get to know something about the local culture and see amazing places. On our way to the Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelap Waterfalls, we drove through a monkey forest. This monkey forest is different to the ones on Bali. It is very natural and is basically just one street going through a large forest with monkeys. You can stop everywhere and take pictures. The two waterfalls themselves are definitely worth a visit. We had a guide included in our tour. He told us a lot about the waterfalls and the surrounding. As he was also a guide for the Rinjani hiking tours, we could hear some great stories about these tours.

As we couldn’t afford to rent a car and a driver for every single day, we decided to rent a scooter. Once again our hotel helped us and we got a scooter for just 50.000 IDR per day. We had this crazy idea to go to Kuta (Lombok) in the south with our scooter. It takes 2 hours – one way! And we cannot recommend it. It is very exhausting and it is not really a scenic tour. It is probably a better idea to just explore the beaches around Senggigi with a scooter and rather take a car to Kuta (Lombok). Besides the long scooter ride, Kuta (Lombok) is great! Along the coastline of Kuta, there are several amazing beaches. This is the first time that we felt like exploring spots that only a few tourists had seen before. There are no large hotels or beach bars – just surfers and little huts on the beach. Driving along the coast of Kuta was the best scooter ride we did on our whole tour through Indonesia. You are driving through rice fields, along cocoa palms and you will see water buffalos right next to the street. We also had lunch in Kuta. We visited the Warung ‘The Chili’ and tried the Chili crab and prawns in lemongrass sauce. It was just perfect sea food.

Senggigi itself is a great base camp for exploring the east side of Lombok. You will find everything you need in this little city and there are many different attractions that are relatively close by. From Senggigi it is easy to explore beautiful Lombok. Lombok lies right next to Bali, but it feels like you are entering a different country. People often say that Lombok is like Bali used to be 25 years ago. We believe that Lombok is unique and can’t be compared to any other part of the world. Today, Lombok is still very authentic and raw. There aren’t that many tourists. So this is your chance to experience the real Lombok!

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